NBA Pick on Heat, Blazers ‘under’ on TNT Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, January 8, 2015 6:57 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015 6:57 PM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.

 

It may not be a rapidly paced game in the nightcap of a national TV doubleheader late Thursday night when the Miami Heat (15-20, 8-8 away) pay a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers (27-8, 16-3 home) at the Moda Center in Portland, OR at 10:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 197 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -106.


Still Playoff Hopeful in the East
The Heat just snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Brooklyn Nets 88-84 back in South Beach on Sunday, but that still leaves Miami at only 15-20 overall as they have had a tough go of it with LeBron James returning to Cleveland. Luckily for the Heat though they play in the Eastern Conference and thus even at five games under .500, Miami would be in the playoffs if the season ended today as the eight-seed!

The Blazers are virtually assured of their playoff berth and they are now putting pressure on the team with the best NBA picks record in the league, the Golden State Warriors, as they now trail them by just two games while being the second seed in the much tougher Western Conference. Portland enters this contest as winners of five of their last six games after beating the Lakers here at home 98-94 on Monday.


Heat Slowing Things to a Crawl
With Miami now basically down to a “Big Two” of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat have resorted to slowing games down substantially this season in an attempt to keep close in contests by limiting the scoring and thus having a chance to win by hanging around. The slow pace is also a reason why the Heat are only allowing 98.2 points per game despite being toward the bottom of the league in field goal percentage allowed in 28th at 47.0 percent!

You see, the Heat are dead last in the NBA in Pace Rating right now grading out at 91.6 possessions per game. That is a key reason why Miami is both 27th in the league in scoring (94.1 points per game) and 10th in the league in points against. The combined average of all Miami games has been 192.3 points per game, which is about five points less than this posted total.

Furthermore that Miami scoring average has dropped to 91.6 points over the last five games despite Miami shooting 48.7 percent in those contests, which again point to its slower pace this season.


Blazers Improved Defensively
Now the Blazers have an offensive reputation and deservedly so with the outstanding inside-outside game comprised of LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard, but not to be overlooked is the vast improvement of the Portland defense relative to past seasons! This year’s Blazers are second in the NBA in points against at 97.0 per game, third in field goal percentage allowed at 43.0 percent and first in three-point defense at 29.2 percent.

Granted the Blazers are sixth in scoring offensively with their 103.9 points, but Portland is only 17th in field goal percentage at 45.1 percent, meaning that they would be unlikely to reach their scoring average if Miami does its usual thing by slowing the game.

It is also possible that the Blazers, who are already without starting center Robin Lopez with a fractured hand, could be without Wes Matthews as he is currently questionable for this contest with a knee injury.


Portland Nice ‘under’ Run at Home
As you would expect with the Portland newfound defense, the Blazers have become more ‘under’ friendly and that has especially been the case here at home where the ‘under’ is 13-6 this season.

Look for that pattern to continue for another game with the Heat and Blazers staying ‘under’ in Portland on the NBA on TNT Thursday.

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NBA Pick: Heat, Blazers ‘under’ 197 (-106)

 

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